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InvertMouse

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Everything posted by InvertMouse

  1. The Last Birdling (InvertMouse's 5th year project)

    Hi everyone ! Here is the same artbook preview post from my blog: Ever since Unhack 1, I have featured digital artbooks for my Steam releases, and The Last Birdling will be no different. I want to give you a preview today, and I also wish to detail some of the lessons I have learned through the past five years. Above are several pages from Cursed Sight’s artbook. As you can see, the layout is similar to the artbook from Unhack. My websites also share the same template across projects. Unhack 2 and The Last Birdling feature a new template, while past projects use an older layout. I create both these websites and artbooks on my own, so I make use of templates to speed up development time. My artbooks never feature story summaries. If you have taken the time to open these artbooks, I want to reward that effort with some new knowledge. Behind the scene processes, mistakes I have made, things along those lines. I put Unhack 2’s artbook together during a trip, and I spent all of my hotel hours on those pages. Every time I read through the artbook, I would spot one new spelling mistake, or perhaps phrases that were awkward to read. Before you know it, a couple of days have already gone by. Even if all the assets are available, an artbook is not something we can cobble together a day before release. And now, here are some preview shots of The Last Birdling’s artbook: As usual, there will be character art, CGs and background illustrations available. Every finalized artwork will come with a piece of commentary. On top of that, just like with Unhack 2, I will include all the sketches used throughout the project: I never used to include roughs, because I wanted to show these artworks at their best. Then one day, I read a review for one of my artbooks, and it complained about the lack of sketches. That made me realize how foolish I had been. When I am a fan of other games, I always want to see the drafts, so why would it be different for anyone else? I had failed to think from the players’ perspective, but thanks to that review, I was able to make the switch. As usual, I hope you may consider wishlisting and/or joining our Steam community: http://store.steampowered.com/app/629430/The_Last_Birdling/ Seven weeks to go! Thank you.
  2. The Last Birdling - Artbook preview

    Ever since Unhack 1, I have featured digital artbooks for my Steam releases, and The Last Birdling will be no different. I want to give you a preview today, and I also wish to detail some of the lessons I have learned through the past five years. Above are several pages from Cursed Sight’s artbook. As you can see, the layout is similar to the artbook from Unhack. My websites also share the same template across projects. Unhack 2 and The Last Birdling feature a new template, while past projects use an older layout. I create both these websites and artbooks on my own, so I make use of templates to speed up development time. My artbooks never feature story summaries. If you have taken the time to open these artbooks, I want to reward that effort with some new knowledge. Behind the scene processes, mistakes I have made, things along those lines. I put Unhack 2’s artbook together during a trip, and I spent all of my hotel hours on those pages. Every time I read through the artbook, I would spot one new spelling mistake, or perhaps phrases that were awkward to read. Before you know it, a couple of days have already gone by. Even if all the assets are available, an artbook is not something we can cobble together a day before release. And now, here are some preview shots of The Last Birdling’s artbook: As usual, there will be character art, CGs and background illustrations available. Every finalized artwork will come with a piece of commentary. On top of that, just like with Unhack 2, I will include all the sketches used throughout the project: I never used to include roughs, because I wanted to show these artworks at their best. Then one day, I read a review for one of my artbooks, and it complained about the lack of sketches. That made me realize how foolish I had been. When I am a fan of other games, I always want to see the drafts, so why would it be different for anyone else? I had failed to think from the players’ perspective, but thanks to that review, I was able to make the switch. As usual, I hope you may consider wishlisting and/or joining our Steam community: http://store.steampowered.com/app/629430/The_Last_Birdling/ Seven weeks to go! Thank you.
  3. The Last Birdling (InvertMouse's 5th year project)

    Awesome timing !
  4. The Last Birdling (InvertMouse's 5th year project)

    Hi everyone ! The journey is over, and at last, I can announce The Last Birdling’s release date. Here it is:September 1st, 2017! The Last Birdling’s Steam page can now be accessed: http://store.steampowered.com/app/629430/The_Last_Birdling/ Recently, I have started to follow upcoming games that I want to keep on my radar. If you are willing to do the same for The Last Birdling, I would be so grateful. The “follow” and “add to your wishlist” buttons are available on the Steam page. I will be active on the community board, so I hope to hang out with you there.As the release date approaches, I plan to post a new article every week. These articles will be available on the Steam page as well as my Facebook, Tumblr and all the other usual suspects. My social media links can be found here:http://invertmouse.comI am thankful to those who messaged in to say they fell in love with Bimonia and Tayo after the demo. After hundreds of development hours, those two have grown lives of their own. Once the game is released, I hope their story can be shared with as many people as possible.Thank you!
  5. The Last Birdling: Release date

    Hi everyone! The journey is over, and at last, I can announce The Last Birdling’s release date. Here it is:September 1st, 2017! The Last Birdling’s Steam page can now be accessed: http://store.steampowered.com/app/629430/The_Last_Birdling/ Recently, I have started to follow upcoming games that I want to keep on my radar. If you are willing to do the same for The Last Birdling, I would be so grateful. The “follow” and “add to your wishlist” buttons are available on the Steam page. I will be active on the community board, so I hope to hang out with you there.As the release date approaches, I plan to post a new article every week. These articles will be available on the Steam page as well as my Facebook, Tumblr and all the other usual suspects. My social media links can be found here:http://invertmouse.comI am thankful to those who messaged in to say they fell in love with Bimonia and Tayo after the demo. After hundreds of development hours, those two have grown lives of their own. Once the game is released, I hope their story can be shared with as many people as possible.Thank you!
  6. Hi there . I was inspired by shortaporty's thread here: https://www.reddit.com/r/visualnovels/comments/6h4iqe/patreon_and_its_role_in_western_vn_development/ Let's say your favorite studio starts a Patreon account. What sort of rewards would you want to see? The default list I can think of: 1) Behind the scenes development process 2) Rewards like wallpapers/avatars 3) Early access In my case, I love Stage Nana because they made Narcissu and Ame no Marginal. Cool, okay, I would support them. I want to think about item three first. Even if they made, say a AAA-budget Narcissu sequel, I would rather see it in one go when it is complete and not have my impression be tainted by seeing the game in its rough stages. Also, why am I paying to become their tester? I would, of course, love to have 1) and 2) at least. The thing is, I imagine a studio would want to make those available for free, since it helps with promotion. That said, you can always have some wallpapers/avatars be available to everyone, then have exclusives for patrons. What would be some reward ideas that are more fun and creative? With Patreon, you need a lot of backers to make it worthwhile. Otherwise, you need to sink production hours every month to deliver the rewards. I can't imagine being able to offer anything substantial, since that would affect how much time you can spend on the game you are trying to make. Thank you .
  7. What you want to see in a VN Patreon

    Thanks for the responses !
  8. Hi everyone . Thank you again for giving me permission to share my blog posts here (after our discussion about my struggles with Unhack 2). I recently posted an article about my background development process in The Last Birdling: I hate promos, so I would like to make this thread about visual novels in general. These days, in professional works, beautiful background art is more or less assumed. That said, are there any VNs with backdrops that stand out to you? As mentioned in the post, I found the city nightscape in the Starcraft VN to be particularly memorable. I am always on the search for inspiration, so happy to hear about any games you have played that come to mind. Thank you !
  9. Hey Silvz! Long time no talk 😎. The blur is up to personal preference and is on purpose. Players will get to see each background on its own during the game, of course. The characters and CGs are done by the same artist.
  10. Death (>-<)

    Thanks for your thoughts !
  11. During a garage clean up the other week, I found this gem from the year 2000: Sakura Taisen was a hit back in the late 90s. You know the magazine NewType? It has been around since then, and I recall so many issues with Sakura or other members of the cast on the cover. Sega, of course, made the most of its popularity with countless merch and spin-offs. This Gameboy spinoff is different from the console versions. It is about raising stats, there are mini-games, and combat takes more of a backseat. Though Sega has released so many spinoffs (card games, puzzle games and the like), it is nice to see they made an effort and didn’t simply pump out lazy ports. But here is the relic that made me smile: This is the companion “Pocket Sakura”. Tamagotchi was a big thing at the time (as my primary school teacher said, “You can’t bring those digital watches into school!”), and you can see the result right here. The Pocket Sakura connects with the Gameboy via infrared, and you use it to exchange data with the cartridge. Unfortunately, I have never owned a Gameboy Color! Thank goodness we are in the YouTube era, and Erica Griffin has put together this awesome review: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=moJ4M6Gfy5I Honestly, I cannot even recall the last time I have put a battery into anything. The 90s and early 2000s will always bring back great memories for me. Do we have companion gadgets like these in visual novels today? I played through Mass Effect Andromeda recently, and that game comes with an app that you can download to send troops on missions via your phone. It might be fun to see that explored in visual novels. I am not aware of any titles that make use of this, but if there are, I would love to know about them. Do you think that is a cool idea, or is it just a gimmick? Thank you!
  12. Backgrounds are sometimes overlooked when we play visual novels. I for one am guilty of this, so today I would like to, well, I guess you can say repent. When you have multiple illustrators, there is always a chance your art styles will clash. The easiest solution, of course, would be to feature a single artist in your project. In reality, however, other concerns come into play. Schedules, motivation, workload—there are many factors to juggle. In The Last Birdling, I have opted for a relatively safe route. That is, to feature different artists for the backgrounds and characters. Since these elements are quite separate, it makes clashes less likely. Tooaya is The Last Birdling’s artist, while Juliestorybored is our background illustrator. As the assets trickled in, we first put together a test to make sure the elements fit: Lighting changes based on the time of day, so we must have all our bases covered: Once the test is complete, we can proceed with production: I prefer not to use language like “my team” or “my artist”. Once someone joins the team, we are in this together. When it was time to design Tayo’s village, Julia took the lead and did a great job: The Last Birdling has been in production for two years. During that time, I often study other visual novels for inspiration. The Starcraft VN caught my interest back when it first released. I was particularly awestruck by the city nightscape that animated into place: My previous project, Cursed Sight, featured backgrounds painted by the talented Tooaya. However, none of them animated during the game: As I learn from other creators, I apply those lessons into future projects. In The Last Birdling, I have coded CGs and backgrounds that contain parallax animations, which work especially well for long distance shots: Sometimes I am tempted to say my ideas are my own. If I ever claim that in the future, you can call me out for being a liar. I am a fan as much as anyone, so I will always be a student first. Thank you for reading!
  13. http://www.animemaru.com/winged-cloud-announces-sakura-sellout-visual-novel/ AND NOW I RUN AWAY
  14. I read a post on I think GameFAQs the other day. “Persona 5 is overrated because it has no replay value.” I for one am loving P5 right now, going for the Futaba route if you care to know. P5 is apparently a 100-hour game? If so, with so many games on the list, I will only be able to do one playthrough either way. That aside, does Persona 5 indeed lack replay value? At first, I thought yeah, maybe. The palaces are linear (which I in fact prefer), and the story is quite directed. Then I thought, well, I am on my third playthrough for Doom 4, so how is that a fair comparison? When you love a game, you will create your own fun. In Final Fantasy, we had those single character runs. For Doom, I might go okay, this time I will stick to one of the two possible mods for each weapon. Perhaps a zero upgrades run. On the other hand, if the gameplay is boring, no amount of design effort will make someone come back. For Persona 5, maybe on a second playthrough, I will stick with a different cast of characters. Let me romance this person now. Play it on hard. I will go with these Personas instead. There is always a way. Where did this idea of replayability come from, anyway? I recall having Ninja Gaiden on the Gameboy. The game was probably like 50 bucks back then. It is linear, and you can finish all five levels in a couple of hours. That would not be acceptable nowadays, but I still hold that game in high regard. Recently, many designers have used the random generation approach. I am with the side that dislikes this idea, because I would rather play levels that are handcrafted. Someday, AI may become intelligent enough to be “creative”, but for now, randomly generated dungeons usually feel like haphazard mishmashes. There are of course exceptions like Spelunky. What about visual novels, then? If there are multiple routes, does that count as replayable? Well, if there is a true ending, I might say no, since of those routes will merge back into the same conclusion. Can you also invent your own fun if a VN contains no gameplay? Does it even matter? I have played through Narcissu 1 and 2 at least three times each. Those are as linear as they get, but I love the story, and that overrules all logic. In the end, I dig Persona 5’s approach. Story/gameplay that is tightly designed, with variations throughout (different Personas, romantic interests etc) for replayability if you happen to love the game. When we force a game to be replayable at its core, often it becomes lifeless. If we instead insert possibilities and let gamers invent their own rules, that to me is golden. Thank you for reading! Happy to hear your thoughts .
  15. Replayability in games and visual novels

    Thanks for the insightful responses everyone
  16. My OriginalRen Fansite

    Finally someone who understands how to create real art
  17. ToHeart 20 year anniversary

    Just saw it trending on Twitter: https://twitter.com/hashtag/ToHeart20周年?src=hash I missed out on this series back in the days, so happy to hear any memories and thoughts on the franchise, especially the original game for those who have played it. Maybe this is a good excuse to open the game up again ?
  18. Unhack 2: Features list

    Hi Akimoto . Yeah, I would say that's fine. It can certainly be purchased as a gift for someone else.
  19. Unhack 2: Features list

    Hi everyone . I have just revamped Unhack 2's website: http://unhack2.invertmouse.com I hope you like what is in there, and for your convenience, here is the features list: A more mature story: Unhack 1 was created in 2012, so as a student of the craft, I like to think my skills have improved since then. I am, of course, also a bit older now. While Unhack 2’s characters are still an energetic bunch, I believe the cast goes through more of a mature journey this time around. Exploring the human VS AI dilemma: AI will play a bigger role as the years go on, so this is a good time to explore some of the questions involved. What does it mean to be human, anyway? Is it possible for AI to understand how it feels to be us? I fell in love with the topic during my research for this sequel, to an extent where I would like to explore these issues again in the future. To avoid being preachy, Unhack 2 is still very much entertainment first. Puzzle gameplay: While story takes the lead this time, puzzle gameplay does make a return in Unhack 2. In the original game, players had to constantly pause between slots to read the dialogue, which in retrospect was not the best mix of narrative and gameplay. This is why the elements are separated in Unhack 2. I want to explore other methods in future games, so I hope we can go through this journey together. Though the puzzles are smaller in scale this time, they are in some ways more complex. Let’s see if unhackers are ready for the challenge. Please note the puzzles can be skipped for those who wish to focus on the narrative. More art featuring Rosuuri: My budget and experience were limited back in Unhack 1, so I was unable to feature the number of artworks I really wanted. In this sequel, I am able to showcase more illustrations (most of which contain spoilers, which is why they are not shown on this page). Our artist this time is Rosuuri. Her works are well-known in the community, and since she is one of the best around, there is a good reason for that. 3D-rendered backgrounds: Due to budget constraints in Unhack 1, I was unable to include proper background illustrations. Helen “Tayola” Schwieger is our 3D background artist in Unhack 2, and she has put together a collection of renders for us to enjoy throughout the game. These 3D backdrops fit our digital theme nicely. Brainfed returns as the composer: (Unhack 1 album art by Hybridmink) Brainfed (Matt Hamm) provided a fitting soundtrack for us in Unhack 1. He has graciously given his time again for Unhack 2, and thanks to him, this sequel contains another soundtrack that belongs in the Unhack universe. Several tracks may even include nostalgic references to the original title. * * * Unhack 2 can be purchased on Steam here: http://store.steampowered.com/app/444170/Unhack_2/ And, of course, the original game: http://store.steampowered.com/app/340800/Unhack/ Thank you so much!
  20. Hi there . As always, I hate stealth promos, so I want to share my post on The Last Birdling first: To avoid more shameless plugs, I would like to dedicate this thread to character designs in general. From all the VNs you have played, are there any character designs that stand out? A few of my thoughts: 1) It doesn't necessarily have to be about the costumes. For instance, perhaps a character sports a hairstyle you have never seen before. 2) Sometimes, it can be about body types. Let's say with Love Live (though it is not a VN), I think plenty of people appreciate Nozomi. Though she is pretty of course, she also stands out by not necessarily fitting into the unrealistically slim stereotype. 3) Many VNs take place in school settings. This limits what designers can do, but the uniforms themselves can stand out, and the cast still have casual clothes. Also, what designers do to separate characters from one another while in uniform is worth a mention. Different shoes, sock lengths etc. It undoubtedly also helps fulfill a various of fetishes. Happy to hear examples, opinions and anything else related to the topic of design. Thank you !
  21. The Last Birdling (InvertMouse's 5th year project)

    Hi everyone . I have been writing biweekly development posts on The Last Birdling, so I want to share them with you here: How to handle perspective shifts: Transparency with decision trees: Race design: Thank you so much .
  22. A love for older VNs

    I have always had an affinity for old things. When I see those old VN promo vids that look like they were created in PowerPoint, it excites me. Many years ago, I visited Japan and searched around for a copy of ONE ~Kagayaku Kisetsu e~ on Windows 95. The list goes on. I am sure there is a hipster mentality to it. Also, I guess old things can be rare, and people like rare things. When the box is yellow from old age, that is a good sign to me. They are relics, and owning them is like a sign of respect. I want to see if anyone else has a thing for old games? Are there any old hidden gems you know of (older than Kanon let's say)? Any blogs or channels that cover older VNs? Just getting some of them to run is a challenge, but there is charm in that, too. Opinions, stories, happy to read about all of them. Thank you !
  23. A love for older VNs

    Yeah, I noticed the post. Really need to give them a read sometime .
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